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Pokemon Go creator Niantic making a game of the world

Pokemon Go maker Niantic on Wednesday moved closer to turning the world into a giant game board in a fun mix of fantasy and reality.

San Francisco-based Niantic opened the door for outside developers to build titles to add to its current lineup of mobile games which includes Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Ingress.

“We think there are adventures everywhere waiting to be discovered,” Niantic founder and chief executive John Hanke said at a press briefing.

He laid out a vision of “planet-scale” augmented reality where the technology gets people “off the couch and playing together” in parks, streets, cafes and just about anywhere “atoms and bytes meet” and users can ramble in search of virtual creatures.

The invitation to developers interested in building on the Niantic platform came as the company announced that “Run to My Heart” made by JCSoft in Silicon Valley took top place in the company’s first “Beyond Reality Contest” that featured a total of US$1 million (S$1.4 million) in prize money.

Themes of games in the competition ranged from steampunk tank battles to protecting animal sanctuaries.

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